Saturday, July 15, 2006

Alice Cooper's Most Famous Line?

The Nation is running an obit of Frank Zeidler, 93, who served three terms as the Socialist (Socialist Party) mayor of Milwaukee, from 1948 to 1960.

John Nichols writes:

"Socialism as we attempted to practice it here believes that people working together for a common good can produce a greater benefit both for society and for the individual than can a society in which everyone is shrewdly seeking their own self-interest," Zeidler told me in an interview several years ago. "And I think our record remains one of many more successes than failures."

On a Friday afternoon in the spring of 1999, the contribution that Zeidler made to Milwaukee and to the world was honored by people who well understood the significance of what this American socialist did and what he continued to do as someone whose activism slowed only slightly as he passed through his 80s and into his 90s.

The Nation: The Last of the "Sewer Socialists"
Despite the horrible title (the Nation has to make sure no one thinks they are Socialists I guess), the obituary is very good, positive and gives both an excellent historical and personal perspective on the life of a man who "kept the red flag flying" in the US.

Some will remember that his tenure is immortalized in pop culture via the following exchange from Wayne's World:
Wayne Campbell: So, do you come to Milwaukee often?
Alice Cooper: Well, I'm a regular visitor here, but Milwaukee has certainly had its share of visitors. The French missionaries and explorers began visiting here in the late 16th century.
Pete: Hey, isn't "Milwaukee" an Indian name?
Alice Cooper: Yes, Pete, it is. In fact, it was originally an Algonquin term meaning "the good land."
Wayne Campbell: I was not aware of that.
Alice Cooper: I think one of the most interesting things about Milwaukee is that it's the only American city to elect three Socialist mayors.
Wayne Campbell: [to the camera] Does this guy know how to party or what?
In any case, whatever the intention of the script writers, when the red flag is flying again over Milwaukee and the entire world, history may look back and consider this to be Alice Cooper's most famous line.

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